Well, I couldn’t round up a theme this time, although – as usual – there have been some memorable bits of bloggy goodness. My personal post of the week is from Legal Eagle, who has a superb piece on Nick Cohen’s What’s Left? (A book meme that appears to have been started by Iain Hall. Last week it was Adrien, who’s also provided us with a new piece of philosophical musing). Still, that’s by the by. Go read both.
Graphics in this edition come from Sudanese blogger Kizzie, who features some fabulous Nubian body art and jewelery at her place and an interesting ‘Islam’ image (both of which I’ve filched). In a followup to last week’s bruising interblog stoush on Ayaan Hirsi Ali and FGM, Pommygranate hosts a terrific guest post by Kizzie, which led to me discovering her blog. Although she’s based in Egypt, I recommend a visit; go here.
UPDATE: Continuing the riffing off other posts and blogs, Tao of Defiance – responding to Kizzie – has a thoughtful rundown of the Islamic scriptural references (particularly the Hadiths – ‘sayings of the Prophet Muhammad’) that are used to justify FGM.
Today’s Missing Link is brought to you by James Farrell, Jason Soon, Amanda Rose and Ken Parish, with Helen ‘skepticlawyer’ Dale editorializing. After today, I’ll be away due to work commitments for a couple of weeks, so will have to deputize Cam Riley or Peter Black to do my section of the round-up, while Ken steps in as editor once more.
1. News and Politics Stuff
Riffing off the Four Corners special on torture, Harry Clarke does the Mirko Bargaric thing and asks if torture is ever justified.
Mark Bahnisch previews the fight for the ‘sixth’ Queensland seat (given two Labor and three Coalition?) in the Senate. General opinion polls are not much help here, it seems. To fully appreciate the post, some readers may need this.
One of the contenders in this aforesaid dogfight is of course our own Senator Bartlett. Andrew reports this week on progress toward (1) establishing a nuclear waste dump in Australia, (2) compensation to Western Australian Aborigines for stolen pay and benefits during much of the twentieth century (no progress in the other states).
According to Robert Merkel, Brendan Nelson is being a bit coy about why he is commissioning anti-ballistic-missile systems for our next batch of destroyers. As is usually the case when it comes to military hardware, the comments thread is (very nearly) a boys only zone.
Jason Soon reports that Quadrant has conceded the case for action on climate change, in what is a thoughtful editorial. A huge stoush ensues.
Tim Dunlop too has been blogging about the ministers. He confesses to being moved to tears by Tony Abbott’s despair over the opinion polls:
Poor Tony. Badly paid and under appreciated thanks to those idiots in the electorate who mightnt return his government for a fifth consecutive term. How do we live with ourselves?
On the other hand, he is not excited by Julie Bishop’s latest innovative proposal for public schools, in this case a bigger role for corporate sponsorship, and rejects in particular the accusation that teachers don’t know what it’s like to have a job. Also on the topic of federal meddling in school education, Helen of the Balcony defends Catherine Deveny’s critique of private school funding against a ‘Mommy Drive-by’ attack from Michelle Hamer.
Tim Dunlop thinks the Pell Affair ‘ultimately shows how meaningless such church doctrine is, even for those who still claim some allegiance to the faith.’ Sarah endorses the Hilalogi analogy. On the other hand, James Farrell here at Troppo thinks everyone should leave George alone, it aint nobody else’s business, and the usual suspects in the Troppo comment box agree.
Ken Lovell admits he is confused about what was supposed to be different about US military operations under the The Surge.
Andrew Elder pays out on a particularly silly Costello-boosting op-ed piece by Age political journalist Jason Koutsoukis, while Peter Martin predicts an interest rate rise by August in light of extraordinarily strong employment figures.
Graham Young joins the (justified IMO – KP) chorus of condemnation of Sharan Burrow and the ACTU for attempting to get Australia listed by the ILO as one of the 25 worst countries in the world on industrial relations.
2. Life and Other Serious Stuff
If you don’t know what a Zugzwang is, John Quiggin defines it and uses it to describe the state of world agreement over greenhouse emission targets. As he see it, ‘the system of mutually supportive intransigence is breaking down.’ John also reports that he and other participants raised $3.6 million for the Leukaemia Foundation in The Greatest Shave. Congratulations, John, but what we really want to know is whether, now that you’re back in Ironbark, the beard is coming back.
Jeremy Sear has written the script of Tony Mokbel’s bail application.
Tim Lambert puts his gas mask back on to dispose of another pile of DDT misinformation, this time disappointingly from the New York Times.
Shaun Cronin praises the Herald for pointing the spotlight at planning failures in relation to the NSW Central Coast. He loves living there, but worries about the alack of jobs, transport options and medical services.
Steve Edwards returns to blogging with some very interesting reflections on Vietnam, from where he recently returned.
Andrew Leigh tags research showing that employment protection legislation (e.g. unfair dismissal laws) lowers productivity growth, while adding a cautionary note:
Of course, the negative relationship between productivity growth and regulation doesnt mean that market regulations are bad – just that they represent a tradeoff between equity and efficiency.
Meanwhile, two more blogging Andrews, Norton and Elder, muse about David Marrs His Masters Voice: The Corruption of Public Debate Under Howard.
Legal Eagle focuses on websites which allow readers to rate judges and magistrates, concluding that they’re just as problematic as the similar sites allowing students to rate their teachers. Sites like this just provide an outlet for the disgruntled, without giving others any way of knowing whether the rater’s opinion is soundly based.
Slim from The Dog’s Bollocks reveals Vedantic tendencies in musing about “directed evolution”, which isn’t quite as obviously silly as “intelligent design”.
3. The Yartz
Prophet had a similar reaction to Pirates of the Carribean III as me: it’s a load of shite and a complete waste of 3 hours and fifteen bucks. Avoid it like the plague even when it comes out on video release.
Pavlov’s Cat has a ripper roundup of events at the upcoming Adelaide Festival of Ideas (at which three bloggers regularly featured in Missing Link are guests).
Ben at LawFont is none too pleased with afr.com. It’s been revamped, but is no better.
Paul Watson has a final (thoughtful) word on Mark Davis’ Gangland ten years on.
(troppo sports stadium)
Scott Wickstein reckons loose lips sink sporting teams, and so England cricket captain Michael Vaughan should have kept shtum on what he though of Freddy Flintoff’s antics at the recent World Cup yawnfest.
Shaun gives his tips for the upcoming weekend NRL round (one of the benefits of publishing Thursday’s Missing Link a day late is that we can highlight the footie tipping posts), while Five gives the AFL tips. Shaun also reviews the team selections for RL State of Origin II. While we’re on SofO, Gilmae reckons the Blues selectors are dickheads if they have Danny Buderus and Luke Bailey on final warnings. ((I can’t help having a nasty feeling that Brett Kimmorley will make a complete hash of it yet again. Gower or Orford would have been better choices.~KP))
5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad
Tony the Teacher thinks the Victorian print media’s coverage of the dreadful Kerang rail disaster has been a tad excessive.
Graham Young continues to receive appalling service from Optus (well, non-existent actually), and contemplates signing up with Skype. ((Is it really a viable option, I wonder?~KP))
Sikamikanico from Xander and Nico Pod thinks abolishing compulsory voting might reduce the lamebrain/chance factor in elections:
Apparently an acquaintance of mine went to the polls at the recent NSW State Election believing it was the Federal Election, and believing that Morris Iemma was the man who brought in the new IR laws, so she voted against him. ((although it might well be as good a reason as any for voting against Dilemma. I certainly would have if I’d lived in NSW, irrespective of the equally dreadful alternative.~KP))
Dr Faustus thinks that ‘teenage boys who spend their nights and weekends downloading movies, games and porn’ are leeches who may be responsible for pushing up the price of broadband Internet ((Personally, Telstra is my prime suspect.~KP))
And Niall “Bannerman” Cook is mighty mighty pissed off about happiness. I’m not quite sure why, but it’s an entertaining rant just the same.